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Stacy Filopoulos, our July Volunteer of the Month, started her law career wanting to be an advocate for victims. A child of Greek immigrants, she saw her parents struggle to navigate the legal world as they established a small pizza shop in Philadelphia. Her parents’ experience motivated Stacy to work in litigation before becoming Managing Counsel at Fidelity National Law Group.
When Stacy saw a call for VIP volunteers in The Legal Intelligencer, she didn’t hesitate to reach out and offer to represent a client who needed help obtaining title to a family home, needing probate to untangle the title. “I thought, what better time to do it than now? I always hear people say, you make a living selling real estate, but you create wealth by owning it. Having title to your property is a huge part of people’s ability to feel settled,” Stacy said.
Since starting to volunteer with VIP in September of 2021, Stacy has had four clients, three in probate matters. Stacy quickly learned the ins and outs of this area of law, although she admits she was hesitant at first.
“I had never done a probate case before so I was uncertain, but VIP streamlined the process and gave me step by step instructions on how to properly handle these cases. Once I took the first step, I realized it wasn’t that complicated because VIP was next to me throughout the process.”
Stacy recalls a case that has stuck with her. Her client, Elaine, has lived in her family home her whole adult life. When entering the probate process, Stacy helped Elaine contact her seven siblings to secure the shares in the property. Elaine was nervous about reaching out to her estranged brother, whom she had not spoken to for years.
When Stacy got a hold of him, to her surprise, he was immediately supportive of the process, saying that Elaine should have the house because she took care of it for so many years. “To me that was really special,” Stacy said. “Not only did I help this woman get her home, but in the process, I was able to bring the family together.”
Just as every family is unique, so is every VIP homeownership case. “You’re dealing with something really personal, people’s homes. These aren’t just investment properties. This is where people have lived their entire lives, passed down from generation to generation, nobody wants to lose that. I certainly understand that as someone who has had that blessing from my community, and who wants to stay in this community. And that’s what these people want to do, they want to stay in their homes. They want to stay in Philadelphia.”